(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Magazine Spring issue #109)

By Vickie Klick, OFS

This is the third TAU-USA in which you have heard about the Franciscan centenaries being celebrated in 2023-2026. In addition to articles here, the National Fraternity has appointed a task force to help our celebrations to be as widespread and universal as possible. There are six of us on the Centenary Task Force; as you can see from our regional fraternities, we span the continental U.S.

Dcn. Terry Barber, Troubadours of Peace

Israela Garcia, Our Lady of Guadalupe

Vickie Klick (chair), Mother Cabrini

Terri Leone, St. Katharine Drexel

Patrick Martin, St. Margaret of Cortona

Carolyn Townes, Brothers and Sisters of St. Francis

2023 is going to be a busy year for us, with TWO centenaries to help celebrate, as well as planning our work. The NEC has asked us to plan a face-to-face event at Chapter and a Zoom event open nationwide each year and to create a common calendar of centenary events from across the country. We are also creating/collecting resources and ideas for centenary celebrations and posting them on our section of the website: https://www.secularfranciscansusa.org/franciscan-centenary-celebration/

We cannot do this alone, of course! We are asking for a representative/contact from each regional fraternity to collaborate with us. He or she will provide input for the shared national Centenary Calendar and in general will be a conduit of information to and from their regional fraternity. It will not be a big time investment, but it will be a good way to help everyone in your region participate more fully in the centenaries. If this interests you, please let your regional minister know.

It is important that these centenaries are being celebrated by the whole Franciscan family, not only the Secular Franciscans. One of the most important tasks for each region to undertake NOW is to reach out to the friars and sisters in their area to find out their plans and to see how we can participate, as well as to invite them to participate in our events. In most cases, we hope this can be facilitated by the regional spiritual assistant(s).

We are planning to offer a nationwide Zoom celebration of Greccio, probably the weekend before Thanksgiving. In subsequent years, however, we would like to partner with a regional fraternity each year to take their regional celebration “online.” As you start looking ahead to celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Stigmata in 2024, if you think your regional event might be a candidate to be shared completely or partly online, we would love to hear from you.

Please watch our website for ideas and resources for regional and local fraternity events for each of the centenaries. We will be adding new materials regularly between now and the Easter of St. Francis in 2026.